Dong Ziqi stood there atop the carpet, staring into the distance. The distant Oxhorn Mountain looked the same as always, extremely peaceful.
“Apprentice-brothers Jadechild and Zidao.” Dong Ziqi hurriedly called out. “Oxhorn Mountain is up ahead, but at first glance, I don’t see anything.”
Immediately, a group of Zifu Disciples arose, with Jadechild and Zidao leading the way. They stood at the edges of the carpet, staring into the distance. Nong Zidao began to laugh. “Just a vision-bewildering formation. Although you can’t tell from the outside, once you investigate clearly what’s going on, you’ll know.”
The giant carpet descended, quickly landing on a desolate patch of land not too far from Oxhorn Mountain. This group of Zifu Disciples all walked off, raising their heads as they looked at the distant Oxhorn Mountain.
“Snowdragon Mountain members, our Ji clan has been here waiting for quite some time.” A heroic, forceful voice emanated forth from the distant Oxhorn Mountain.
“So they really are atop the mountain.” Dong Ziqi’s eyes narrowed, and he said, “This is the voice of Patriarch Ninefire of the Ji clan. This old fellow is very crafty, and he is skilled in formations and poisons.”
Jadechild just said calmly, “Nothing more than an old man. Killing him is like killing a chicken.”
“It’s quite impressive for someone to be this bold though.” Nong Zidao laughed as well.
“A grand formation has been set down here at Oxhorn Mountain. There’s no way of knowing what dangers and traps are inside.” A silver-haired Zifu Disciple said, worried. “What are we to do?”
The practitioner with the triangular pupils snorted coldly. “What can we do? To break the formation, we first have to test it and see what intricacies it holds.”
One Zifu Disciple after another began to discuss what they should do to test it.
Nong Zidao laughed gently. “This bewildering formation is quite ordinary. Just from reviewing the elemental energy ripples surrounding Oxhorn Mountain, I already know the secrets behind the vision-bewildering formation in front of us. Crane, go break this formation.” Nong Zidao, through his spiritual connection, informed the Crane of the secrets of breaking this formation.
The Fairy Crane transformed into a blur, then solidified into a white-robed maiden. The white-robed maiden seemed like an eighteen year old girl, youthful and adorable. “Master, please wait momentarily. I will go break the formation.”
The white-robed maiden immediately transformed into a ray of light, flying away towards the base of Oxhorn Mountain. She didn’t enter the formation at all, instead wielding a long black whip in her hands. Striking out with the whip…it suddenly extended, penetrating into the formation, and then wrapping up the formation flag with incomparable accuracy. And then, with a tug, she pulled it out.
“The spirit-beast of senior apprentice-brother Zidao really is extraordinary.”
“Well broken.” They all congratulated.
From their side, all they saw was a long whip enter the formation, with that part of the whip disappearing. By the time the whip returned, it returned wrapped around a formation flag! With one of the formation flags pulled out…instantly, the bewildering formation was broken, and the entire Oxhorn Mountain seemed to change slightly, revealing several figures at the peak of the mountain.
“The Ji clan.” Muse immediately saw the six of them, with that youth amongst them. “That genius of the Ji clan, Ji Ning, is here as well.”
Far away at the peak of Oxhorn Mountain, Ninefire suddenly let out a loud shout, and instantly, a large amount of fog arose, surrounding the entire Oxhorn Mountain. There was black fog everywhere…and for a time, nothing could be seen within.
“Master.” The white-robed maiden flew back like a streak of light. “I just barely missed. As soon as I pulled away one formation flag, yet another formation was set down…there’s no way for me to pull away the other formation flags.”
“It’s enough for you to be able to pull one out. That bewildering formation has already been broken.” Nong Zidao laughed calmly. “It seems this Ji clan has prepared quite a few formations! Unfortunately…it seems as though none of them are particularly high-class formations.”
The nearby Jadechild said, “How can the Ji clan possibly compare with you, junior apprentice-brother Zidao, when it comes to meticulously analyzing formations? If they were capable of setting up a formation that even you, junior apprentice-brother Zidao, felt was high class, then that would be quite baffling. The situation before us is quite normal.”
“How should we break this next formation, junior apprentice-brother Zidao?”
“It’s hard to see anything within this fog formation.”
The Zifu Disciples all looked at Nong Zidao.
Nong Zidao shook his head as well. “The previous vision-bewildering formation was easy to break. The one in front of us, however, is a bit harder. In addition, I imagine that the Ji clan has set up layers of formations, formations within formations! How can we break this fog formation just by looking at it from the outside? Most likely, only someone at the Primordial Daoist level would be able to see through the illusions of this formation at a glance.”
“Then we…?” Jadechild looked at Nong Zidao.
“Investigate the illusions!” Nong Zidao said. “As I see it, our group of nineteen Zifu Disciples should divide into two squads. We’ll first send one group of twelve Zifu Disciples to enter the formation…these twelve fellow apprentices are not to be separated while carrying out their mission, as otherwise, they will be separated and killed. Twelve Zifu Disciples….the Ji clan won’t have the strength to fight back, even if they want to.
Nong Zidao looked at Dong Ziqi. “Junior apprentice-brother Ziqi, this time, it was your Swallow Mountain branch which invited everyone to come here, and so you should lead eleven of our colleagues in entering.”
“Fine.” Dong Ziqi immediately assented.
Nong Zidao immediately began to name names, until finally, twelve Zifu Disciples had been named, with Dong Ziqi being one of them.
“My twelve fellow apprentices, please head out first.” Nong Zidao waved his hand, and three jade talismans flew out towards Dong Ziqi and two others. “These three jade talismans were forged by me personally. As long as you stay close to me, I will be able to sense them. Fellow apprentices, please enter the formation first. Senior apprentice-brother Jadechild and I will follow afterwards…and then, we shall separately test this formation. I will be able to sense everyone’s locations, and so meeting again will be simple.”
“Senior apprentice-brother Zidao is meticulous indeed.”
Nobody had any objections.
Because they were all very confident! As disciples of the main sect, they were all skilled in combination attacks! Every six fellow disciples would be able to form one formation. Nine, ten, or twelve disciples were also able to set up formations…if the thousands of powerful Zifu Disciples of the main sect were to join together in one combination formation, they would even be able to give a Primordial Daoist a good fight!
But of course, the prerequisite was that they all had to understand the intricacies of the combination formations. The larger scale a formation, the greater the level of complexity. For thousands of Zifu Disciples to form into one combination formation would require many moons of training and coordination.
Black fog billowed everywhere, and Ji Ning and the others flew to the edges of the black fog, staring towards the outside.
Everyone had a heavy feeling.
Just now, that Zifu-level Celestial Crane didn’t even enter the formation; all it had done was use a whip from outside, and it was able to effortlessly capture that formation flag. Clearly, it had seen through the illusions of the formation. For it to be able to do so without even entering the formation…this caused every member of the Ji clan to have a heavy feeling in their hearts.
“The bewildering formation I set down outside the perimeter was the weakest one.” Ninefire said. “First, we will make the enemies believe us to be weak, so as to make them lower their guard.”
“Twelve of their Zifu Disciples have broken off and are moving towards us. It appears they are going to enter.” Truekeep suddenly said.
“They are breaking into two groups?” Ninefire nodded slightly. “I expect that the second group is the more powerful one; judging from the conversation they had earlier, it seems as though those two Zifu Disciples are in charge. However, those two are in the second group and haven’t entered yet.”
“Let us prepare the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation.” Granny Shadow said hurriedly.
Ninefire waved his hand, and two plain, unadorned emblems appeared. The only thing on them was the character for ‘Xia’.
“The official writs?” Ning stared in astonishment at these two emblems. “Two official writs?”
“Previously, when we killed the He siblings, we acquired an official writ. This unbound writ belonged to them.” Ninefire looked at Ning. His eyes filled with hope, he said, “The other official writ belongs to my Ji clan. It is the official writ of the City of Ten Thousand Swords. Ji Ning, for now, we will entrust you with these two writs!”
Ninefire handed them directly to Ning.
Ning was stunned.
“We are facing countless dangers right now. If I am lucky enough to survive, then you can give the official writ for the City of Ten Thousand Swords back to me. If I die, then keep it.” Ninefire said. “No matter what, we absolutely cannot permit Snowdragon Mountain to acquire this official writ. If the situation becomes untenable, immediately use the Traceless Talisman to depart. The official writ will thus go with you as well…and so, even if they break our formation, they will not be able to find the official writ at all. By then, you will represent the Ji clan in signing an agreement with the Grand Xia Dynasty.”
Ning nodded gently, then accepted the two official writs. When he filled them with his elemental energy, he was able to easily bind them both.
At the same time, he could vaguely sense two places ‘calling’ to him. It was the call of those two cities.
Ninefire, Granny Shadow, and the others all laughed. Now that they had already arranged everything, they would be able to battle without any other concerns.
“Truekeep.” Ninefire said. “You shall be the core for the ‘Dragonhead Formation’ of the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation. I will fill you with the power of the formation.”
“Yes.” Truekeep immediately nodded.
“Ji Shadow.” Ninefire, for once, called out his little sister by her full name. “You shall be the core of the Dragonbody Formation.
“Alright.” Granny Shadow’s eyes were filled with anticipation.
“Liu Xing.” Ninefire called out the full name of the old servant, Ah Xing, as well. “You shall be the core of the Dragonclaw Formation.”
The old servant nodded gently.
“Ji Ning.” Ninefire looked towards Ji Ning. “You are the strongest person amongst us. Your elemental energy is somewhat weak, but once you join with the formation…our elemental energy will combine with yours! Your strength will thus rise the most out of all of us! Given this, your power will vastly surpass the power of the rest of us. The Dragontail Formation of the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation is the most mysterious and most nimble part; it can support everyone else. You will thus serve as the core for this formation, and you will also be our killing blade.”
Once the Netherwyrm Heavenlock formation was set down, of the five formations, the Dragonhead Formation, the Dragonclaw Formation, the Dragonbody Formation, and the Dragon Pearl Formation would not be very nimble. The Dragontail Formation, however, was the nimblest formation, and could easily sweep across to many areas.
“I will stand guard at the core, controlling the formation to support you all.” Ninefire looked at the nearby Yichuan. “Yichuan will be my backup. Once I die, Yichuan will replace me.”
Everyone knew…that Yichuan would only be able to unleash sufficient energy from his Zifu after using a forbidden technique.
“Everyone!” Ninefire looked at them all. “Everything we do, we do for the Ji clan.”
“For the Ji clan.” Granny Shadow, the old servant Ah Xing, Truekeep, Yichuan, and Ning all nodded solemnly.
“Go, then. Prepare each of your formations.” Ninefire gave the order.
Immediately, Truekeep, Granny Shadow, Ah Xing, and Ning moved at high speed in four different directions.
At the same time.
Dong Ziqi and the other eleven Zifu Disciples of Snowdragon Mountain were carefully entering the black fog shrouded Oxhorn Mountain. As the person who had invited them here, Dong Ziqi naturally set up his Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation to protect them! The enormous Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation swirled around the eleven Zifu Disciples, providing an outer layer of protection.
This also guaranteed that the twelve Zifu Disciples wouldn’t be easily separated from each other.
“A black fog bewildering formation?” The twelve people who entered the black fog region quickly grew cautious.
“Everyone, beware the ambushes of the Ji clan.” Dong Ziqi called out.
In the black fog, the aura of the region had become heavy and weighty. All of them grew cautious and guarded, for fear that a sudden, terrifying attack might emerge from the black fog. As Immortal practitioners…they all understood that even if they looked down upon their enemies, in a true life and death battle, they couldn’t underestimate any enemy Immortal practitioners.